Ben Whittaker says he could beat both Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez now, but is biding his time and building experience in the ring to work his way up to title fights.
With a flawless 5-0 record so far in his professional career so far, Whittaker faces an experienced Khalid Graidia, who turned professional back in 2012, on Saturday night.
Whittaker, an Olympic silver medallist, made his debut a decade after that. The Briton had a good 2023 winning all of his fights, including an impressive knockout win over Stiven Leonetti Dredhaj in December.
Nicknamed “The Surgeon”, Whittaker is confident ahead of his bout on the Joshua Buatsi vs Dan Azeez undercard this weekend at Wembley Arena and even declared he was ready for both of the main event fighters.
“He [Graidia] has been in there with some good operators but hasn’t been in there with ‘The Surgeon’ yet. I’m going to put on an operation on Saturday,” Whittaker said.
“Talking about those two guys [Buatsi and Azeez], I could beat them now. [That’s] not just me saying it, I know that I can, I’ve got the skill, I’ve got the looks and everything else. But at the end of the day it’s about experience.”
While sure of his ability to face the best, Whittaker remains focused on the task ahead of him.
“It’s all about experience, I’ve got a tough guy on Saturday, deal with him the way that I should do and then I’m on the right step,” said the 26-year-old.
“Ben [Shalom, his promoter] said it well: I’m there already. But it’s about baby steps and I’ll get there. But when I’m there, I’m there to stay.”
Azim: The belt is staying with me
Adam Azim is also in action on Saturday, as he aims to defend the European super-lightweight title against unbeaten opponent, and former belt-holder, Enock Poulsen.
Azim won the European title after beating Frank Petitjean by decision in November of last year and Saturday will be his first title defence since obtaining the belt.
Ahead of the fight Azim was assured in his superiority over his opponent. “Winning a European title is massive thing for me, but for me I’m going to keep hold [of it], he isn’t taking it home, I’m keeping it,” he said.
“He can do whatever it takes, go to Cuba, go sparring, but when you face me, it’s a different story.
“There’s only one Adam Azim, I’m too fast for him, too powerful, I’m too skilful. He said he’s going to box me – it’s the worst thing because if you want to box me, I’m a dangerous boxer myself.
“Good luck to him, he has to be confident. Any fighter should be confident for beating each other, but the belt is staying home with me.”
Azim has faith in the path ahead of him. “The process is going really well. I’ve got a duty to do on Saturday night, and that duty is to beat him and then we’ll look at my ambitions to become a world champion,” the 21-year-old said.
“Before going to that stage, I want to be ready. I’m not ready yet, but I will be soon.”
Dubois: I have to prove I’m the best
Caroline Dubois will also feature on the undercard. She faces America’s Miranda Reyes for the IBO lightweight title.
Dubois wants to demonstrate her the full extent of her ability and has as much self-belief as Azim and Whittaker, if not more.
“It’s one thing preparing and saying I want to fight Caroline Dubois. It’s totally another thing when you step in the ring with me. The intensity that I bring to the ring and the way that I fight. I fight with bad intentions, that’s what’s going to come on Saturday night,” Dubois said.
“I have a point to prove. I said leading up to this fight that I’m the No 1 in this division and this fight is going to be a statement and a breakout that shows I’m the best in this division,” she added.
“I don’t feel the pressure, I just feel excited. I feel excited to step in the ring on Saturday and to show my skills and to prove that I’m the best. The only pressure I have for myself is the one I put on myself to prove I am what I say I am.
“I say I’m the best.”
Watch Joshua Buatsi face Dan Azeez this Saturday live on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 8.30pm.
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